On March 3rd we will find out who will represent the interests of Vilnius residents in local government. European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) is implementing a project aimed at getting to know the electoral programmes and positions of potential mayors, committees and parties in matters of national minorities in order to enforce the minorities right to participate in local elections according to recommendations of Organization on Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) noted in its 2012-2016 election evaluation mission reports current national minorities representation as insufficient because there is a lack of resources to ensure adequate participation of national minorities in political life. Article 15 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities points out that EU countries must create the necessary conditions for persons belonging to minorities to participate effectively in cultural, social and economic life, as well as in public affairs, especially those which are important to them.
The EFHR has selected key areas of concern in relation to candidates’ questions: service of persons in minority languages in state institutions and local governments, bilingual street signs, minority education. We are glad that there are candidates who have included the problems of minorities in their campaigns and are sure about the continuation of the tradition of bilingual street signs of Vilnius, as well as the education of national minorities as one of the priorities.
We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the project and the answers of the candidates on the website www.balsuoju.lt. In order to provide the access to information to various representatives of the society, the answers are provided in Lithuanian and Polish. The website balsuoju.lt also provides basic information about the elections on March 3rd.*